Arctic Council Taking Regional Development Reins

International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS)
Monday, June 10, 2013
Arctic Summer Ice: Photo courtesy of NOAA

What was once a small group meeting to discuss scientific & technical cooperation has grown into a forum in which legally binding agreements between states are brokered.

In the 16 years since the creation of the Arctic Council, both the physical environment of the Arctic and the level of international attention paid to this once-obscure forum have changed dramatically. At the Council's latest meeting in mid-May, in Kiruna, Sweden, ministers added new international observers, bolstered the Council's governance capacity and agreed on a common vision for the next 16 years, notes the IISS in a recent report.

For the second time, the biennial meeting attracted the participation of all Arctic foreign ministers – with the exception of Canada. Its delegation was led instead by Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, who, as an Inuk, becomes the first indigenous person to chair the Council – Canada assumed the chair from Sweden at the end of the Kiruna meeting.

Ministers attending the meeting, including United States Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, signed a legally binding agreement on oil-spill prevention and response – the second such agreement brokered by the Council, after the 2011 Arctic Search and Rescue Agreement – and the ‘Kiruna Declaration’ , which aims to improve economic and social conditions, mitigate the impact of climate change, protect the Arctic environment and strengthen the Arctic Council.

Climate change is affecting the Arctic more than any other area of the Earth. Temperatures there are increasing at twice the global average. The scale of Arctic sea ice loss has been more dramatic than most climate scientists had anticipated, with the ice cap shrinking and thinning annually to around half of the volume recorded in 1979 when measurements began. Industries such as mining, shipping, oil and gas, fishing and tourism, are looking to take advantage of melting sea ice to expand into this previously inaccessible corner of the world.

The Kiruna meeting marked a further step in the Arctic Council’s development into a regional intergovernmental body that cooperatively addresses a broad range of issues arising amid significant environmental, economic and geopolitical change. With its expanded capacities and remit, and the heightened interest of the international community and industry in the Arctic, the Council’s role as a force for regional stability will continue to grow.

According to the IISS, with the Councili's expanded capacities and remit, and the heightened interest of the international community and industry in the Arctic, the Council’s role as a force for regional stability will continue to grow.

Source: International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS)

Maritime Reporter October 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds


Oil Deal Between Iraqi Kurdistan & Baghdad Welcomed

The United States welcomes an agreement between Iraq's central government in Baghdad and its northern Kurdistan region over the management of oil exports, U.

Canadian Pipeline Expansion Continues

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners said on Friday that crews have resumed survey work related to its Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby,

Orlando Ashford is President, Holland America Line

Holland America Line announced today that effective Dec. 1 Orlando Ashford will join the company as president to lead the award-winning cruise line's brand and business,

Government Update

Nigeria to Cut Petrol Subsidy by Half

Nigeria plans to cut subsidies on petroleum products by half next year after sharp falls in global crude prices, spurred the government to revise its 2015 budget downwards,

Venezuela Ships First Crude Mixed with Algerian Oil to China

Venezuela is sending its first shipment of crude mixed with Algerian light oil to China, according to state oil company PDVSA and traders.   Venezuela recently

China Building Island Big Enough for Airstrip

Satellite images show China is building an island on a reef in the disputed Spratly Islands large enough to accommodate what could be its first offshore airstrip in the South China Sea,

Arctic Operations

Environmental Groups: IMO Polar Code Too Weak

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) today adopted the Polar Code aimed at regulating shipping in Polar Regions. Several environmental groups have criticized

IMO Steps Up Safety in Polar Waters

United Nations’ International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted global, binding regulations to enhance safety of navigation in polar waters. After several years’ intense negotiations,

Governor: Russia Will Have No Competitors in the Arctic

The Governor of Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Region, Dmitry Kobylkin, presented the annual report on the situation in the autonomous region. "We have been confronted with new challenges.

Offshore Energy

Time-out for Kwanza Drilling

Statoil has decided to cancel the Stena Carron rig contract after fulfilling the work commitments in the Statoil-operated blocks 38 and 39 in the Kwanza basin offshore Angola.

Update: Explosion in the Gulf of Mexico

An explosion occurred aboard a production platform Thursday at West Delta 105, operated by Fieldwood Energy, resulting in one fatality and three injured. The Bureau

Deepwater Semi-Sub COSL Prospector Delivered

COSLProspector, the fourth deep-water semi-submersible drilling rig built by CIMC Raffles for China Oilfield Services Limited (COSL), has been delivered in Yantai, Shandong Province.

Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Pod Propulsion Ship Electronics Ship Repair Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.2013 sec (5 req/sec)